Perhaps you are one of those folks who considers yourself a dog-lover. Maybe you’re a blanket animal-lover and have been eagerly looking forward to the day when you could finally find your family pet. Maybe your husband, who isn’t as much of an animal lover, has informed you the only animal he wants is a dog. You, who love all animals, don’t argue because dogs are awesome. So you find that sweet litter of puppies thats not too far from home and decide to set up a time to go look at them and pick your perfect puppy. Its a pretty overwhelming task at first because they’re all freaking adorable and you kind of just want to take them all home. But then they start nibbling on your toes and your child and you realize just one will do. So you play with them and really begin to eye that one specific one. You tell your husband to come over a little later and meet her. He likes her too but ultimately lets you decide if you’re going to really go through with buying a dog or not. Its really cute so obviously you say yes and a couple days later you come home with your newest, furriest family member. Congratulations!
But now what? Allow me to explain to you how your first few weeks will go, some of the thoughts you will feel and emotions you will undoubtably need to express somewhere.
First you will be thinking: YES! This is the greatest! This dog is amazing! I’m going to train her so fast and she’ll be the perfect dog in no time. She is going to stop biting my one year-old constantly because she totally understands that he is also her owner and wouldn’t dare bite her own owner! You’ll also start fantasizing about taking naps with her, taking her on long, effortless walks and how she’ll never have an accident in the house because you’re going to train her so well and if you’re putting in the effort, then so will she – duh.
Then you put her to bed in her crate for the first time. Ok, maybe she isn’t as perfect as you thought. She’s practicing her dog screaming/yodeling/crying and she’s getting an A+ at it. You lay in bed with your husband and each remind each other…she’s only a few weeks old, she’s a newborn, we just took her from her parents and siblings, this is fine, this is normal. But a ways into the musical practice you wonder what the return policy is on this new puppy.
You’re totally shocked when potty training is actually going pretty smoothly. See? You knew she’d be the best dog (and sleeping is getting easier for her too) Accidents in the house? Nope, not my dog! But then there are two days in a row where you find yourself having literal emotional breakdowns (maybe because you’re also pregnant) because the freaking puppy won’t stop peeing on the freaking carpet! You text your mom while you’re in tears and she brings over some amazing carpet cleaner thats safe for animals and babies and does the job, but still, who wants to clean up dog pee? Its gross and WHY is the smell so brutally strong? Its ok, this weird potty training regression only lasts a few days but you live in fear the rest of your days that when she’s sitting on the carpet she’s actually doing something else.
Remember how she’d never bite her owners – especially the baby? Wishful thinking, lady. She probably does love you and for sure really loves your baby – and for some reason that actually makes her bite you even more. You send a cry for help into the social media world for advice on how to make the biting stop and thankfully people are saints and send you tons of different ideas that worked for them. Some fail miserably with your dog, others are slowly working. The biting is still happening for now but you see a very itty-bitty light at the end of this pokey tunnel and you cling to faith that she’ll eventually stop using your flesh as a chew toy.
Then you strap her in to her cute new pink harness and you take her on one of those effortless walks. So its better than when you just walked her with her leash and collar (apparently harnesses make a difference?) but she is quickly informing you she doesn’t care if she’s a large breed of dog and needs lots of exercise. She wants to stay home and lay in her spot in front of the couch, under the ceiling fan and sleep. Walks are dumb. But you’re determined to be persistent. You load your one year old into the stroller, you tell your sciatic pain to chill for a little bit and you beg your puppy to use their dang feet as you physically drag her down the street. This too will get a little better, but she’ll still put up one heck of a fight at least once a day. Don’t lose your sanity. You are stronger than her! Or so I hear..
There may also come a day when your son puts all her dog food in her water then the two of them team up together and spill it all across your kitchen floor. Its the strangest consistency you’ve ever laid eyes on and you’re at a loss for how to even start cleaning it. So naturally you burst into tears and have a little meltdown on the floor for a few minutes before putting on your adult pants and getting the job done. And while you do the dog runs over and tries to eat some of your sons toys – I feel like that nightmare is a post in and of itself. That may be your toughest hurdle but people tell me it gets better, but has it yet? No. No, not at all.
Its not all bad though. You had dreams of this dog being BFF’s with your kids. You only have one so far but they actually both really like/tolerate each other and you’re seeing the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. Its exciting and motivates you to train her even more consistently so she can be that good (you’ve given up on perfect) dog even sooner.
When she’s had a long walk and is finally on the mellow side she’ll come and snuggle up next to you and stare into your soul with those puppy dog eyes and you melt a little and pat yourself on the back for making the wonderful, life changing decision to buy a dog.
Your husband gets home from work and she excitedly greets him (and doesn’t jump up on him like you’ve been working on!) and the whole family loves her a little bit more because that was a really cute sight. You calmly remind yourself the puppy stage doesn’t last forever and she’s well on her way to becoming a well trained member of the family.
There are the days when she’s really rocking her training and you’re so proud of her and even though she’s only 12 weeks old you feel like she’s mature beyond her weeks. Maybe, just maybe you did get a dog that has the potential to be perfect?
But then you look over at her and she’s gnawing on your shoe on top of the bath mat that she pulled from the bathroom, next to a puddle of her own urine. #doglife